Doing GOOD to Those Lost in Sin
by Al Diestelkamp

Not all preaching is done in pulpits. In fact, since it is so difficult to get people to come to our assemblies or Bible classes, perhaps the most effective "preaching" takes place when one shares his or her faith with someone else.
The "live, and let live" philosophy so prevalent in our time makes it more difficult to confront those lost in sin. They don't think it's any of our business to teach them what they need to do to be saved. They don't perceive our concern for them as "doing good" to them.
It's easy for us to see that if their physical lives were in jeopardy, that we would be remiss not to warn them about it, but for some reason we hesitate when it comes to their eternal safety. Whether they realize it, or not, the most good we can do for "all men" is to direct them to the gospel of Christ, which is found only in God's word--the Bible.
Jesus said His purpose in coming to earth was to "seek and to save that which is lost" (Lk. 19:10). As disciples and followers of Jesus, this also should be our "mission" in life. He told His disciples that He would make them "fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19).

          Jesus gave what we call the "great commission" to His apostles just before His ascension. He said "All authority is given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations..." (Matt. 28:18-19). Lest we think that this commission was given exclusively to the few men who heard it on that occasion, Jesus went on to say, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..." (v.20). That makes this commission applicable to all of us who have been "baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
It is quite clear that the gospel is not always received well by those who hear it. Christians in the first century, when faced with extreme persecution for their faith, "went everywhere preaching the word" (Ac.8:4). I doubt that this aggressive evangelism was viewed by others as "good," but indeed it was.

          The apostle Peter describes us as "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people" (1 Pet. 2:9). This description is not to inflate our egos, but is our divine calling to "proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light." In order to be effective proclaimers of Christ, Peter goes on to beg us to have honorable conduct so that when those in the world think we are evildoers, they may by our "good works which they observe, glorify God" in the end (vs. 11-12).

          This same message was conveyed by the apostle Paul as he urged us to "become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life..." (Phil. 2:15-16).

          In teaching His disciples of the urgency of their mission, Jesus, in the parable of the great supper said: "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Lk. 14:23). Though we cannot actually "compel" people to obey the gospel, we must convey the message as compelling as it really is.

          We must resist any temptation to make the gospel more attractive to men by appealing to the carnal man. We do people no favor by withholding truth from them, even though it may be unpleasant to them. The apostle Paul's effort to "become all things to all men" (1 Cor. 9:19-23) did not include compromise of truth. No matter how "acceptable" sin or false doctrine becomes in the world, we still have an obligation to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).

          Who will do good to the lost? Solomon, in his wisdom, wrote: "He who wins souls is wise" (Prov. 11:30). Think about it! If we don't take the gospel to the lost, who will? Like the prophet Isaiah, our response to this calling should be, "Here am I! Send me" (Isa. 6:8).


AL DIESTELKAMP
P.O. Box 891, Cortland, Illinois 60112
Email: al@thinkonthesethings.com